Marking Earth Day in Columbus Park

Columbus Park, Earth Day 2012.

Earth Day yesterday was a soggy affair.  You’re looking at the scene in Chinatown, an event sponsored by the new Chinatown Business Improvement District in Columbus Park. After donning plastic ponchos and posing for photos, participants fanned out across the neighborhood to pick up garbage along several routes.

City Council member Margaret Chin and NYC Comptroller John Liu co-sponsored the cleanup day. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was also on hand to give a few words of encouragement. Among the participants: lots of community activists, but also students from Emma Lazarus High School, Stuyvesant High School and kids from the United East Athletic Association.

The event had a fairly serious tone.  Several tables were set up for people to leave birthday notes and to make paper cranes in memory of Danny Chen, the young soldier (and Lower East Side resident) who died in Afghanistan last year.  He would have been 20 at the end of this month.   A final decision from the Army about the trials of several soldiers accused in connection wit his death is forthcoming.

The elected officials and activists vowed to keep up the pressure on the military. Chen’s parents were in attendance at yesterday’s event.

Council member Chin, Speaker Silver, Comptroller Liu and Danny Chen's parents.